By Nicholas Kevlahan
Published July 09, 2010
Dear Mayor and Councillors,
I am writing to urge you to decisively reject the proposed East Mountain stadium site. This site is a major mistake for the City, and will become a liability for years to come due to its high cost, reduction in employment lands, environmental degradation and negative impact on downtown redevelopment.
Cost: the Ticats have still only offered up to $15 million towards stadium construction: far short of the $50 million that the City had requested from private sources for a Grey Cup ready facility. The City would have to purchase the land, service the new site, improve highway access and upgrade local roads.
There is also no guarantee that this expensive stadium will even make money for the City or the Ticats in the future: highway stadiums have been financial disasters throughout the USA, and American cities are now building their stadiums downtown!
Employment: the Red Hill Valley Parkway was supposed to open up large amounts of employment lands. Now we are told a valuable greenfield site will be devoted to low density entertainment (a few times a year) and retail, and will probably lead to pressure more big box type retail and housing on nearby land.
This is not the right choice when the City is claiming to be short of employment land!
Environment: the City would be choosing greenfield development over brownfield re-development. This sets a terrible example for the private sector, and will only encourage more sprawl. The East Mountain site is also largely inaccessible to public transit (and certainly by cycling or walking), and will not be serviced by GO or LRT.
The City's own consultants, IBI, confirmed that the West Harbour location could handle the traffic: why was this hard data simply dismissed?
City Building: this site does not meet any of the City's goals for re-developing and densifying the downtown core. No City can thrive economically with a depressed and depressing downtown. The East Mountain is no compromise choice!
You still have time to avoid a mistake that the citizens of Hamilton will regret for years to come. Reject the East Mountain location and stick to the City's own goals for the Pan Am development!
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